Do I have a case? Dental malpractice

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Do I have a case? Dental malpractice

I had a root canal performed by an endodontist about 9 months ago. A couple weeks after, I went back to my regular dentist to have the temporary filling material removed and the permanent filling put in place. I already had a crown on the tooth, so only thing I needed was a filling in it. I kept having pain in my gums on that side, so I went back several times to my regular dentist to get it checked out. First, I was told I had decay on the tooth in front, which he fixed, then it was the bite was too high on the root canal tooth, which he fixed. In the meantime, I had switched dentist. My new dentist took an X-ray last week and told me I had infection in the root canal tooth and suggested I go back for a re-check at my endodontist, which I did this week.

My Endodontist took another X-ray at his office, and told me that the reason I was

hurting was my previous dentist did not remove the medicated cotton pellet that the

Endodontist placed in there temporarily prior to me getting it permanently filled. You

can see this on X-ray and has been confirmed by another dentist. So I have had a

cotton pellet in my mouth since March. My old dentist also didnt fill the crown all the

way like it is suppose to be done to prevent bacteria and such from entering. This is

seen on X-ray as well.

After calling my old dentist and explaining, he hasnt yet offered to pay the nearly

1,000 bill to get my tooth retreated. I was told by the Endodontist that my old

dentist told them that he didnt see the cotton pellet when he went to fill it in and the

presence of a cotton pellet wasnt on the report the Endodontist sent over prior to

him filling it. So he basically blamed the Endodontist for this. They are closed until

after the holidays, but I will be calling them back after the new year and asking them

to pay for my treatment.

Do I have any legal recourse if he refuses to pay the bill for retreatment? All I want

is for him to pay for the retreatment since he left a cotton pellet in my tooth that has

since become infected. I think thats only fair.

I hope Ive explained everything well enough.

Asked on December 21, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Alabama


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Dental malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable dentist in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the dentist, it may be possible to settle the case with his malpractice insurance carrier.  Your claim filed with the malpractice insurance carrier should include your dental bills, dental reports and if applicable, documentation of wage loss.
Compensation for the dental bills is straight reimbursement.  The dental reports document the infection caused by the cotton pellet and are used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the dental bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the dentist.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit for negligence against the dentist must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.
If all you want is payment for re-treatment, it is not worth filing a lawsuit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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